'Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: 'I want you to remember'. Leigh doesn't know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.
Leigh is far away from home and far away from Axel, her best friend, who she stupidly kissed on the night her mother died - leaving her with a swell of guilt that she wasn't home, and a heavy heart, thinking she may have destroyed the one good thing left in her life.
Overwhelmed by grief, Leigh retreats into her art and into her memories, where colours collide and the rules of reality are broken. The only thing Leigh is certain about is that she must find out the truth. She must remember.'
This book is well worth a read.
I had mixed feelings almost the entire way through this book. I think I was concerned with where the story was going. There were so many different aspects making up the story and I was unsure of how they were all going to come together. It turned out I didn't need to worry, it all came together beautifully.
Given that the story deals with suicide and the after effect for those who are left behind, I had to put this book down a few times at the beginning. I was finding myself getting too emotional, when this happened I put the book down and when I had calmed down I picked it back up.
The emotional punch that this story had is completely necessary to the story, but as someone who has mental illness I found it difficult to remember that this was a story. I found myself completely overcome with emotion and for me that's not a great place to be.
I absolutely loved the characters in this book, I really related to them and found myself really wanting to help them throughout their journeys. I also love getting to see the different aspects of Chinese and Taiwanese culture on display throughout this book.
I understand the need for the art/colour influence in this book, but for me I didn't really need so much of it. I found that having the in-depth description of colour sometimes hindered the flow of the story.
Emily X.R. Pan did a fantastic job with this book. The characters were strong and relatable, the story was emotional and easy to connect with and the story came together perfectly in the end. If I can read a book an only find one fault with it, then it is a winner in my eyes.
The Astonishing Colour Of After by Emily X.R. Pan is a beautiful, heartfelt story that will stay with you long after the final page.
Published by Geramie Kate Barker